Mozambique: Drunken Deputy 'Disgraces the Party', Says Renamo

Maputo — Jose Manteigas, national spokesperson for Mozambique's main opposition party, Renamo, has warned of possible disciplinary action against one of the party's most prominent parliamentary deputies, Antonio Muchanga, after he appeared drunk on the television channel STV, reports Wednesday's issue of the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique".

Muchanga represented Renamo on last Sunday's "Pontos de Vista" (Points of View), an STV chat show in which representatives of the three parliamentary parties, the ruling Frelimo Party, Renamo and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) discuss the main political issues of the week.

But Muchanga was so drunk that the programme moderator, senior STV journalist Jeremias Langa, had to ask him to leave the studio.

Expressions of shock, condemnation and amusement could be heard from various quarters of Mozambican politics - but Renamo initially maintained an embarrassed silence, until, in an interview with "Carta de Mocambique" 48 hours after the incident, Manteigas declared that Muchanga's attitude "disgraces the party".

"Renamo does not instruct its cadres to drink a bottle of whisky and then appear on a television programme", said Manteigas. "The attitude taken by this colleague was personal. If you want to find out why he behaved like that, you can contact colleague Muchanga. Only he can explain why he acted that way".

He added that Renamo would "take measures" towards Muchanga's behaviour, but did not say what these might be.

"It's an internal matter", he said. "Internally, the party will take measures. As a party, we shall sit down with him and talk. These are internal matters and it is not necessary to expose them in the press".

This is not the first time, Muchanga has caused a scandal. The leader of a small extra-parliamentary group, the Labour Party (PT), Miguel Mabote, publicly accused him of smelling of alcohol at a panel programme some years ago on the Miramar TV channel. At this time, Muchanga was the Renamo national spokesperson, but shortly after the incident the then leader of Renamo, Afonso Dhlakama, sacked him.

When sober, Muchanga is a pugnacious orator, who has become a star in the Renamo parliamentary group.

He headed the Renamo slate for last year's parliamentary elections in Maputo province. He stood twice (in 2013 and 2018) for mayor of the southern city of Matola, and came close to victory in 2018.

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